Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Emeli Sandé ft. Naughty Boy – Daddy

Is it Portentous Season in UK pop?


Jer Fairall: 21st-century soul meets the shuffles and clicks of early trip-hop, with some dramatic yet surprisingly unobtrusive strings on board to point her towards the eligibility pool for the next Bond anthem.  I’m trying to avoid evoking the Massive Attack/Neneh Cherry comparison again, since I already used it to praise her the last time out, but her canny distillation of that sound into its most accessible yet striking elements is so much of what I like about her that I really hope she keeps doing it.  

Iain Mew: I’m even more at a loss as to what exactly this is about than last time, with the central nagging question being what the it she’s giving is. It seems like there’s something bad going down, anyway, and it’s easy to just get swept along by its wave of lushness regardless. A lot of the same tricks as “Heaven,” but they still work very well.

Alfred Soto: The use of the second person singular proves fortuitous: its distance matches the discretion with which the strings undergird each veiled confession of need and Sande’s repetition of each verse in the chorus (she’s almost spitting them in the final go-around). Finally, it adduces Sande’s modest vocal gifts: she’s warm and self-aware, no more, no less. 

Jonathan Bogart: I was gritting my teeth throughout, expecting Naughty Boy to be some insufferable guest rapper. Instead I suppose I get to blame him for the cheap, tearjerking production.

Anthony Easton: I am not sure that the Svengali relationship works anymore — there are no Colonel Toms left, and in terms of gender, it seems women have a much better chance of controlling their careers, and controlling their careers effectively than ever before.

Brad Shoup: If a song has “Daddy” in the title, I’m not in for a good experience: it’s been a reliable rule of thumb. “Gone Daddy Gone” has grated in two different decades. “Oh Daddy” is the weakest track on Rumours. Usher’s “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)” doubles down defiantly, but all the flash is in the title. “Cat Daddy” is pretty great, but wait — who’s that in the video? Chris Brown? BACK TO START. Sandé continues the heritage with this half-heated satiny confection, a particular letdown for both singer and producer in the wake of “Heaven”. The drum’n’bass drive has been swapped for melodramatic string builds and a standard drum-loop jigger. The repeated phrases in the pre-chorus add nothing but padding, and though the chorus finds her slipping her friend a pocket rocket, the damage has been done. She seems to be attempting the Amy Winehouse mode, but Amy tackled the subject much better.

Katherine St Asaph: From the church-bell piano peals to the gathered strings to the whole “daddy” schtick to the drums only barely jittery enough to register above Alex da Kid, this isn’t made of emotion but kitsch. As Stephen Bond put it, “it aims high, but its means are too crude and transparent and vulgar.” It’s maddening how well it works anyway.

16 Responses to “Emeli Sandé ft. Naughty Boy – Daddy”

  1. Oh Brad. “Gone Daddy Gone” is great, the Violent Femmes version anyway. Hard to fault “Oh Daddy” for being the worst song on a stone-cold classic, and anyway “Sugar Daddy” from the self-titled should make up for it. What about “Daddy Sang Bass”? Or Emmylou Harris’s “To Daddy”? And “Daddy Rollin’ (In Your Arms)” is Dion’s best song.

    And then there’s Glasvegas, which basically wrecks my point.

  2. Did my country corollary get cut out? :D Actually, I’m not big on “Daddy Sang Bass”, and I woulda thought there’s a Bobbie Gentry cut I’m missing, but trolling is trolling…

    Meanwhile, Brutal Juice’s “Kentucky Fuck Daddy” kicks off a stone classic in style.

  3. But the ratio’s something like 80-20.

  4. In honor of my giving “Heaven” a [10] and this its lowest score, an extemporaneous Daddy Top 10:

    1. Brutal Juice, “Kentucky Fuck Daddy”
    2. Alan Jackson, “Drive (For Daddy Gene)”
    3. Elvis Presley, “Don’t Cry Daddy”
    4. Steely Dan, “Daddy Don’t Live in That New York City No More”
    5. Fleetwood Mac, “Sugar Daddy”
    6. Waylon Jennings, “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line”
    7. Black Lips, “Daddy Longlegs”
    8. Lil Wayne and Baby, “Stuntin’ Like My Daddy”
    9. Big Boi, “Daddy Fat Sax”
    10. High Rankin, “Don’t Carry On Like a Rude Boy When Daddy’s Got a Yacht”

    Almost: The London Suede, “Daddy’s Speeding”

  5. This list needs “My Son Calls Another Man Daddy” and “Come to Daddy.”

  6. BTW, “Don’t Stop” is the only dud on Rumours.

  7. You missed Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy,” Cam’ron’s “Get ‘Em Daddy,” Boney M’s “Daddy Cool,” and Two Lone Swordsmen’s “Rattlesnake Daddy” (although that last one might just be me).

  8. Ooooooh, “Come to Daddy”. Big miss there.

  9. Oh yeah, def “Get Em Daddy”: “We like the March of Dimes, the way we march with dimes.”

    I hope this rule doesn’t extend to songs like “Big Poppa.”

  10. Rule can’t apply in a world with “Poppa Large”.

  11. 12. Adrian Belew – “Oh Daddy.”

  12. As the resident old-music guy, I have to stick up for Cole Porter’s “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” and Otis Blackwell’s “Daddy Rolling Stone.”

  13. @Brad Maybe the Bobbie Gentry song you’re thinking of is “Papa, Won’t You Let Me Go to Town With You?” from Ode to Billie Joe? Then again, “Papa” has a much better hit rate than “Daddy” (“Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” “Papa Don’t Preach,” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” etc).

  14. There’s a good Papa song on Local Gentry. While we’re talking Bobbie, The Delta Sweete is one of my favorite records, and one of the only I can consistently listen to straight through.

  15. ‘I hope this rule doesn’t extend to songs like “Big Poppa.”’
    Absolutely not! Songs with “Poppa/Papa” in the title are almost always GREAT.

    Papa Was Rolling Stone? Papa Don’t Preach? Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag?

  16. Oops, didn’t realize that I said literally the exact same thing as Sally. Need to read the whole comments section before commenting….